Amisha Gandhi has so many titles now that if we were just to start telling you all of them you would lose patience before we even got to the good stuff. So we’ll just say she is in charge of Global Influencer Marketing at SAP.
She is a sought-after speaker, and in this video — fresh off of a workshop presentation at MarketingProfs B2B Forum that absolutely rocked — she shares fascinating ideas about how to make an ongoing B2B influencer content marketing program not only work but drive organizational change and success. With that said, check out the full interview below.
Below are some of our favorite insights from the chat between Amisha and our president and co-founder Susan Misukanis.
Sue: I’ll always get calls from B2B marketers who say they want to deploy the Kardashian model for their long-tale, B2B influencer program that is still in its infancy, and I feel like I need to redirect. What are your thoughts on that?
Amisha: I think a lot of people, when they think about influencer marketing, they think it’s all celebrity, but in reality, when you’re looking at it, they are brand ambassadors. We have brand ambassadors because that really helps with awareness. It gives us a sense of credibility and a voice that everybody knows. Then you can build on technology influencers or software developers, depending on what you’re trying to do. You can have a whole soup-to-nuts program.
So maybe you’re working with the team that’s been a brand ambassadorship and then you’re seeing what the message is there and how can you work with other kinds of influencers that are practitioners, executives, or even CEOs. That really speaks to your audience in a more authentic way. But you still have the brand ambassador, you have these influencers, and you may even have some analysts and programmers, bringing it all together.
Sue: Okay, so for someone who’s thinking of doing a pilot a B2B pilot, maybe give us the worst-case scenario.
Amisha: Do not just start calling influencers and say, “I’m doing this campaign, do you want to be a part of it?” and be very prescriptive. If you come up with a campaign or there’s a big marketing campaign coming out, have a concept and then start talking to influencers because they will help you move your program. If you have a very hard defined program, then people will either want to be in it or not. That’s not a good way to make a relationship with an influencer.
You want to invite people to be in your program first and then do some brainstorming with them and see what they like, how they like to interact or what they like to do for companies. Versus being very prescriptive, be a little bit flexible. I think control — that’s one of the biggest things that I hear back in people starting out. They are like, “We have this great white-paper, we have this great program, you should come in and amplify it,” but people aren’t looking to amplify your company content. They’re looking to help you reach their audience. So you need to work with them to see what’s going to be interesting for their audience.
“Invite people to be in your program first and then do some brainstorming with them and see what they like, how they like to interact or what they like to do for companies.” @AmishaGandhi Click To Tweet
Sue: How can B2B marketers break free from boring B2B?
Amisha: We know people say, “Oh, B2B is boring.” It doesn’t have to be boring, but you have to know your audience and what they’re looking for. Most of the time, they’re really looking for straightforward information because they don’t have time. But you do have some capacity to be found on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and other places that serve as community watering holes or trade association sites. People are looking for content there. You can add sizzle by making a very interesting or provocative headline, have a play on words, and things like that, that you don’t normally see in B2B.
One thing that I use for inspiration is Taco Bell. Many years back they had this idea of, when the space shuttle comes back in, if it hit a certain spot then everybody in the world would get a free taco. It turned out to be this amazing communications program. It just went everywhere — it was viral. I always think about what can we do to make things viral in a B2B world. Sometimes we end up with outrageous ideas we don’t ever use or could never use, but it can inspire something real to happen. It informs creative and fun ways to reach people and touch people in a different way than you would normally think of in B2B. Plus, it can be a real success.
The entire interview is full of B2B-boundary-defying insights. Check out the full video above.